Enjoyed a great ride today – and the opportunity to talk to residents as well as get a street level view of what needs work and what is working well in our neighbourhood.

Ward_7_Cycle_August_12_2017

Today I biked both Forest Glade and East Riverside on my Ward 7 Walk & Ride.

I checked out the road work – milling & paving – that is taking place on Wildwood and Esplanade – and I made a note of the fact that Kerby & Chestnut can use a road refresh.

The Lakeshore Woods (newly renamed Banwell Park) playground was absolutely packed with families today – as it is every day!

Love the terrific off-road bike trails that Parks has freshly mowed along John’s Pond.

Here is my route today.

And – as always – don’t hesitate to wave me down for a chat if you see me barreling down your street!

 

Ward_7_Cycle_-_August_7_2017_a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND….

Ward_7_Cycle_-_August_7_2017_b

 

In the summer – I like to get out on my bike and tour Ward 7.

I like to check in on road work and other capital projects that are in the process of being completed such as the walking trails at Forest Glade Optimist Park.

I also like to talk to neighbours on their porch or in the parks – ask them how things are in their neighbourhood, what recent investments they approve and where they would like to see improvements and investments.

Here is a map of today’s ride in Forest Glade.  Don’t hesitate to wave me down for a chat if you see me zipping along your street.

Ward_7_Cycle_-_August_2,_2017

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
10.1 & 10.2 Community Energy Plan Yes 9-0 Delegation
8.22 Parking Clearance – Note & File Yes 5-4 Delegation
8.7 Atkinson Skateboard Park Yes 9-0 Consent
8.32 Seniors Advisory Committee Final Report Yes 9-0 Presentation
8.33 Seniors Advisory Committee Summit Yes 9-0 Presentation
8.9 Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Yes 5-4 Delegation
8.20 Community Improvement Plan – Walker Road Yes 9-0 Consent
8.21 Community Improvement Plan – Walker Yes 9-0 Consent
19.1 Clean Waster Water Project Adjust Yes 9-0 Consent
8.16 3169 Dougall Avenue zoning Yes 9-0 Deferral
       
       

 

Item 8.9 – Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling (OMCC) Grant:  The Province of Ontario invited cities to submit lists of commuter cycling projects that could be funded up to 80 per cent of eligible costs from a $40.5 million fund.

The Administration put forward a list of eleven projects.

I put forward a motion to include on that list two additional projects:

  • Outfitting existing EC Row underpass at Derwent Park to permit cycling from Forest Glade to Twin Oaks Business Park
  • Rhodes Avenue as recommend by Council Payne

The key word for this grant is commuter  - which refers to those routes used daily by cyclists to get to work or school.

Twin Oaks Business Park employs around 2,000 residents across about two dozen companies such as

  • Greenshield Canada
  • Magna
  • Jamieson
  • AlphaKOR
  • Diefenbacher
  • Riverview Steel
  • CS Wind

Currently – Twin Oaks Business Park is totally isolated, as EC Row acts as an impenetrable barrier for cyclists and pedestrians.  Breaking that barrier would permit residents, for example, who reside in Forest Glade to be able to bike to work.  For single car families – this is a huge plus.

Furthermore – this important north-south connection was already included in the Bicycle Use Master Plan (BUMP) and also the Windsor Area Long Range Transportation Study (WALTS).  Hence – administration has identified this route as a key priority.

At the end of the day – the Province of Ontario will decide whether to fund 80 per cent of this project.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.10 – Kinsmen Park community garden Yes 10-0 Consent
11.1 – BIA budget approval Yes 10-0 Consent
8.13 – 1207 Drouillard Road rezoning Yes 10-0 Consent
10.1 – Sandison rezoning Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.2 – Sandwich Gateway Roundabout  – Heritage Features Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.2 – Sandwich Gateway Roundabout – Statue Location No 6-4 Delegation
       
Motion: Matchette Road Closure EA Yes Not Supported Not Supported
10.3 – Report No. 95 re: Matchette Road closure – Eco Passages Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.4 – Inquiry regarding process for Matchette Road closure – Eco Passages Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.5 – Inquiry regarding process for Matchette Road closure – Eco Passages Yes 10-0 Delegation
       
11.2 – 673 Caron Avenue demolition deferral Yes 10-0 Consent
       

 

Item No. 10.2 – Sandwich Gateway Roundabout Location:

I voted in favour of the heritage features of the Sandwich Roundabout, however I voted NO on the location.

To be clear – I actually like the vision put forward by the proponents of the roundabout location for the statute, but I also understand that the Sandwich community has an important say in the matter.

The reason I voted NO is because I felt the City could have taken a pause to consult with the residents of Old Sandwich Town.  This is particularly true when one considers that the original location – Patterson Park – was approved unanimously by the previous City Council and it is the location, which organizations such as the Sandwich Town Business Improvement Association (BIA) support.

At the very least – the community should have been consulted on the change in plans that until now had been broadly supported by residents and City Council.

Item No.  10.3 & 10.4 & 10.5 – Inquiry Regarding Process for Matchette Road Closure:

On Monday night, I put forward the following motion:

That Council directs administration to pursue an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the closure of Matchette Road from Titcomble to the northerly edge of the developer’s property – and that the matter be referred to the 2018 budget deliberation.

The motion was not supported by my Council colleagues, which means the motion was defeated without discussion or debate.

I want to emphasize that we were not deciding to close Matchette Road that night.

The motion sought to gather more information – and more facts – through an Environmental Assessment (EA) to see whether the closing of Matchette Road was feasible.

It may be that the report would conclude that the disruption to the transportation network and to neighbouring communities would be severe.

Or the report may have discovered that the traffic could be diverted seasonally or permanently with manageable impact.

The fact is – we don’t really know.

What we do know is that Ojibway sets our city apart.  What we have in the Ojibway Prairie Complex is a natural urban park that exceeds New York’s Central Park in scale and most nature preserves in North America in ecological diversity.

And that in itself, many would argue, is enough to warrant looking into ways of expanding the protections afforded this unique park while elevating its position – perhaps as a national urban park or with a UNESCO Heritage designation as recommended in the Parks Master Plan unanimously approved by City Council in 2016.

Before the Rouge National Urban Park was established in Toronto – a 79.1 sq. km park that is the first national urban park in Canada- Parks Canada consulted with 20,000 Canadians and 200 organizations including all levels of government.

Public consultation is also at the heart of the EA process and it gives the breadth of our community a voice in what could be a transformative decision for our City.

In an EA process, City Council has a voice.

Community organizations have a voice.

The Aboriginal community has a voice.

And last, but certainly not least, business has a voice.

The legal concerns brought forward Monday night are valid. The concerns brought forward by the developer are definitely valid.  The voice of the community is, of course, always valid.

As a result, I think that an EA would be the perfect vehicle to bring all of those concerns into a broader analysis and consultation process.

That is why I moved for an EA – because it provides a platform for gathering technical information and for measuring the pulse of the community on this issue.

It is easy to give into fear of the legal risks, engineering challenges and political uncertainties.

With vision, I believe it is possible to rally a community – and work together to overcome all three.

I believe that a pragmatic, measured and informed approach is the way forward when it comes to balancing economic and environmental concerns – and an Environmental Assessment (EA) would have provided an important piece of the puzzle.

Although my EA motion was not supported – Council did eventually unanimously agree to explore the possibility of incorporating eco-passages along Matchette Road as a mitigation effort to reduce mortality of species at risk crossing the road.

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.3 – TD Friends of the Environment Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.4 – GECDSB Bus Bay and encroachments Yes 10-0 Deferral
8.8 – Upper Little River management plan Yes 6-4 Delegation
10.3 – Pilot project for EPIPens @  Forest Glade Arena Yes 3-8 Delegation
8.11 – Downtown Collaborative garden Yes 10-0 Delegation
11.1 – 2017 Tax Policy – Ratios No 8-3 Delegation
11.3 – Riverside Baseball Park Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.2 – BIA Assistance Fund – Memorial Cup Yes 10-0 Consent
 Item 7.2 – Waterront property Acquisition – ex Abars  Yes  10-0  Referral

 

Item 11.1 – 2017 Tax Policy Ratios: Council already set the tax levy January – tonight City Council was deliberating on how that tax levy cost will be divided among the different tax classes, for example:

  • Residential
  • Farm
  • Commercial
  • Vacant land/parking
  • Industrial

Although I acknowledge the very good work by Administration in putting this complicated puzzle together, ultimately I could not support the way the tax burden was divided among tax classes because it raised the tax ratio among job creators such as commercial property owners while at the same time reducing the tax burden on vacant property owners.  Furthermore, even after assessment is taken into consideration, another job creator class – shopping centre owners – ended up paying more than the previous year.

In principle – I cannot support a distribution of the tax levy which raises tax ratios or tax impact on job creator classes such as commercial and shopping centres – while at the same time reducing the tax burden on vacant property owners – a tax class which creates zero jobs.

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.7 – Beach access mats and mobi-chairs for Sandpoint Beach Yes 10-0 Consent
10.1 – Rotary Centennial Plaza Yes 10-0 Presentation
11.1 – Amendment to HST component Yes 10-0 Regular
10.2 & 10.3 – Taxi Study Report Yes 8-2 Delegation
n  In-Taxi Cameras No 4-6 Delegation
       

 

Item 10.2 & 10.3 – Taxi Study Report: City Council voted in favour of introducing a regulatory framework that will allow Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber & Lyft to operate in Windsor.  The framework is the most stringent in Canada and includes:

  • Mandatory Vulnerable Sector Check – which goes above and beyond the standard background check
  • An annual car inspection for cars less than five years old, and a semi-annual inspection for cars older than 5 years
  • A ten year vehicle age limit
  • Report on cameras in TNCs and Taxis within one year

I also asked for two friendly amendments which were not accepted by my Council colleague who put forward the original motion:

  • That an expanded decal with expanded information be mandatory
  • That a report come back to Council about instituting a per-ride-fee that that would generate additional revenue for Handi Transit from each TNC ride – something that was negotiated in Ottawa.

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.1 – 2017 Vacancy Rebate Program Yes 8-2 Regular
8.23 – GECDSB Bus Bays and Parking Yes 10-0 Referral
11.4 – Vacant property registry Yes 10-0 Deferral
8.8 – Draft subdivision Maguire St Yes 10-0 Deferral
7.2 – Assessment update report MPAC Yes 10-0 Presentation
8.17 – Sign bylaw amendment 29 entertainment group Yes 10-0 Consent
11.1 – Pattison outdoor sign LED Yes 10-0 Referral
8.12 – Sandwich Fire Hall stables Yes 10-0 Delegation
11.2 – Residential rental licensing Yes 10-0 Deferral
11.3 – Residential rental enforcement Yes 10-0 Deferral
       
       

 

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.7 – McNorton Multiuse Trail Yes 10-0 Consent
8.21 – Zoning Bylaw 4350 Howard Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.1 – Festival Plaza finalization Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.2 – Ouellette Avenue streetscape Yes 10-1 Delegation
8.19 – Waiver of Fees for Diving Plongeon Canada No 6-5 Delegation
11.1 – Exemption from Demolition Control N/A 9-0 Delegation
10.3 – Karen Street One Way No 3-7 Delegation
11.2 – Sandwich Street roundabout Yes 8-2 Regular
       
       

 

Item 8.19 Waiver for Fees $75,000 for Diving Plongeon Canada: I voted NO on the waiver of fees for Diving Plongeon Canada in the amount of $75,000.

Firstly – providing a waiver of fees for a brand new sports/cultural organization like the diving club – while existing clubs like the Windsor Aquatics Club pay $120,000 in annual fees to the city – is patently unfair.

Second – I am not against Waiving of Fees.  I have supported waiving of fees for the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF), the Downtown Farmers Market, the OFSAA Provincial Championships, the Filipino Community Basketball Tournament, and the Via di Italia Cycling Race among others.

In these instances – the organizations have clearly demonstrated (a) a significant economic benefit to the City of Windsor (b) a community-wide quality of life benefit.

In short – these organizations met a higher standard for a waiver exemption.

 

ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
7.3 – Design Guidelines for fencing along Riverside Drive East Yes 10-0 Communications
7.4 – Use of Aerial drones in Parks Yes 10-0 Communications
11.1 – Phase 1 of Cabana Corridor Yes 10-0 Regular
11.2 – Roseland AGM Yes 10-0 Consent
11.3 – Canada 150 and Ontario 150 Grants Yes 10-0 Consent
       

 

Item No. 7.3 – Design Guidelines for Fencing Along Riverside Drive

Riverside Drive is classified as a Scenic Drive – making it the jewel of Windsor’s road network.

Residential property owners go to great lengths – and make serious investments – to maintain a high standard of landscaping and fencing along the waterfront of Riverside Drive East.

It only makes sense that the City of Windsor, as well as commercial and industrial property owners, maintain the same level of standard as residential property owners when it comes to fencing – and in particular the goal of the report is replace rusted, industrial chain-link fencing with something more appropriate to the waterfront location.  A good example is the rusted, chain-link fencing on the Ford Motor Company property in Ford City across from Drouillard Road.

The purpose of the report is to develop a mechanism that will encourage industrial and commercial property owners along the waterfront to upgrade their industrial chain-link fencing and replace it with something more decorative – a perfect example of quality fencing can be found along the property of Hiram Walker.

The City already has programs that encourage commercial and industrial property owners to improve their fencing – such as the Sandwich Community Improvement Plan (CIP) that provides a grant up to $15,000 or 50 per cent of the cost to improve fencing OR the Little River Fence Improvement Grant.

This report directs administration to expand that program along the waterfront to the Ford City CIP.

Finally – it is imperative that the City of Windsor also replace old chainlinked fencing along municipally owned waterfront property and replace it with something of a higher standard the reflects the pride of place that is our waterfront.

 

Item 7.4 – Aerial Drones in City Parks

I support the use of aerial drones for recreation and commercial purposes.

This report simply examines whether our regulations are sufficient to make sure that the safety and privacy of residents using our parks – such as Sandpoint Beach and Ganatchio Trail as well as playgrounds etc. – are protected.

Currently, our regulations align with what most municipalities across Ontario have in place.